Queensland house

The Queensland house or ‘Queenslander’ speaks eloquently of our distinctive lifestyle and is one of the most distinctive architectural designs in Australia.

A decorative Queenslander house in Annie Street, Torwood, built around 1890 A decorative Queenslander house in Annie Street, Torwood, built around 1890 (Queensland Museum, 1993)

Queensland has more than one type of housing but a tradition of timber building is dominant. This distinctive tradition originated with rough timber huts of early settlement and developed into the multi-gabled bungalows of the 1930s. Buildings continued until, and were adapted after, the Second World War, leading to contemporary ‘Environmentally Sustainable Timber Houses’.

The most typical early twentieth century Queensland house is characterised by:

  • timber construction with corrugated-iron roof;
  • highset on timber stumps;
  • single-skin cladding for partitions and sometimes external walls;
  • verandahs front and/or back, and sometimes the sides;
  • decorative features to screen the sun or ventilate the interior; and
  • a garden setting with a picket fence, palm trees and tropical fruit trees.

There are many styles of the famous 'Queenslander', but share distinct construction style, internal spaces, furnishing, and gardens. They are now valued as a key element of Queensland heritage and conservation and renovation of Queenslanders is widespread.

Further Reading

Bell, P. (1984) Timber and Iron: Houses in North Queensland Mining Settlements, 1861-1920.University of Queensland Press: St. Lucia.

Fisher, R. and B. Crozier (1994) The Queensland House - A Roof Over Our Heads. Queensland Museum: South Brisbane


Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.